Calls about the abuse of cold medicines increase tenfold in California

Calls to the California Poison Control System (CPCS) about abuse, primarily in adolescents, of over-the-counter medications containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan, increased tenfold from 1999 to 2004, according to a retrospective review published in the December 2006 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. This calling trend in California to the CPCS was paralleled nationally during this same time period, the report shows.

In California, calls to the CPCS during this 6-year interval, showed that Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold Tablets was the most commonly reported dextromethorphan-containing medication abused, followed by Robitussin products. The CPCS is the statewide provider of immediate, 24-hour, free, and expert treatment telephone advice and assistance in case of exposure to poisonous, hazardous, or toxic substances. The system is administered in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, UCSF School of Pharmacy.

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Dextromethorphan Abuse in Adolescents


About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.